Here’s a post at The Passive Voice blog: Quarantine Reads — Dhalgren.
I started reading Samuel Delany’s Dhalgren, a prismatic, nightmarish work of speculative fiction, in New York City a couple weeks ago, when the coronavirus had just begun to spread into the West. Italy had fallen and the threat in the United States was imminent, but the real panic and anxiety still hadn’t sunk in...
This is from an article in The Paris Review, not from The Passive Guy himself. Not that it matters; I was just struck by the idea that anybody would pick a “prismatic, nightmarish work” for quarantine reading.
I’m currently reading The Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan. Sorry, the computer I’m using doesn’t want me to post an image. Whatever, computer. I’ll add a picture later when I get a chance, maybe.
A quiet seaside resort. An abandoned shop. A small flat. This is what awaits Polly Waterford when she arrives at the Cornish coast, fleeing a ruined relationship.
The book, if not this particular computer, is perfect. The puffin is almost too much, but no, I’m actually okay with a pet baby puffin that acts like it was raised by hand and is still being called a puffling (yes, that’s very cute; yes, that’s what baby puffins are called) even though it can fly well enough to get into trouble.
Cute, is what I’m saying, but not so over-the-top cutesy that it turns me off.
The thing I’m liking about this story is the resurrection of the abandoned bakery into a warm, fragrant working bakery. It’s very soothing to read about someone putting things to rights, especially relatively simple things like a bakery, though one presumes Polly will also put her personal life in order by the end of the book.
Anyway, though it is different in every possible way, The Little Beach Street Bakery reminds me of Merrie Haskel’s Castle Behind Thorns. You recall, that’s the one where a boy, a blacksmith’s apprentice, wakes up in an abandoned castle. The first half of the story is him, all by himself, putting the castle back in order. It’s a great story in lots of ways. I may re-read that next.
What are you all reading at the moment? Something prismatic and nightmarish? Or something a bit more soothing?